Weekly Recap: VA Democrats post record-breaking volunteer numbers, Dems have nearly $1 million cash advantage in House…

Democratic Party of VA
6 min readSep 18, 2019

Energy: VA Democrats Post Record-Breaking Volunteer Numbers, Republicans Volunteer Numbers So Bad They Won’t Disclose

Link to press release here.

In 2017 and 2018, Democrats won by historic margins by mobilizing thousands of people across the Commonwealth. This year is looking no different. A new look at voter enthusiasm from the Washington Post makes the difference between Democratic and Republican enthusiasm strikingly clear.

In the Richmond area alone, 258 people volunteered for Democratic candidates in August, compared to 142 people during the same period in 2015. But when asked about their volunteer numbers, the Post reported that Republicans “said [they do] not collect those figures, and individual campaigns declined to disclose numbers.”

The Post also noted some other impressive numbers highlighting the enthusiasm advantage Democrats have over Republicans:

Democrats are running in 36 of the 40 state Senate districts — a modern record — while Republicans have candidates in just 25
On the House side, Democrats are running in 92 of 100 districts — another record — while just 72 Republicans are competing.
In the first half of 2019, Democrats running for the state House and Senate raised $1.7 million in contributions of $100 or less, compared with $444,000 for Republicans.

Democrats have nearly $1 million cash advantage in House, filings show large hauls in Speaker’s district (RTD)

Link to article here.

House Democrats have a nearly $1 million cash advantage over Republicans in their bid to take control of the state’s lower chamber ahead of November’s pivotal elections.

New campaign finance filings show Democratic candidates in the House had $8.6 million on hand as of Aug. 31, compared with Republicans’ $7.7 million.

Republicans had the edge in the Senate with $5.3 million to Democrats’ $5 million, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Democrats’ balance in the House was more than twice the $3.7 million they had on hand at this point in 2017, while House Republicans’ balance was only slightly more than the $7.4 million they had at this stage two years ago, according to VPAP.

Every seat in the General Assembly is up for grabs Nov. 5, when Republicans will work to defend their thin majorities in both chambers as Democrats attempt to take full control of Virginia government.

Combining both chambers, Democratic candidates have a total cash advantage of more than $500,000, boosted in part by heightened national attention on Virginia’s closely watched legislative races.

“Republicans are getting out-raised and outworked. Their house is on fire,” Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Jake Rubenstein said.

Republicans on Tuesday said Democrats’ big fundraising gains are inflated by out-of-state dollars or wealthy donors.

“This reporting period has shown Democrats care more about their big-money special interest groups and out-of-state donors than they care about hard-working families here in Virginia,” House GOP caucus spokesman Parker Slaybaugh said.

Only four states are conducting legislative elections this fall — Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Jersey. The closest fight for control is in Virginia, which means its contests, a year before the presidential election, are attracting outside cash and are being watched as a bellwether of voter momentum and policy attitudes.

Canvassing Kickoff

Over this past weekend, Virginia Democrats began launching canvassing efforts in order to flip the majority! Terry McAuliffe, Stacey Abrams, and Pete Buttigieg came out and showed their support to our great candidates. To all our wonderful volunteers, thank you!

Virginia’s ‘off-off-year’ elections were once sleepy. And then came Trump. (Washington Post)

Link to article here.

RICHMOND — Sarabeth Spasojevich voted faithfully for president every four years but, like many Virginia Democrats, skipped the elections in between. Then Donald Trump won the White House, and her voting habits were transformed.

She went to the polls in 2017, part of an anti-Trump tsunami that put a Democrat in the governor’s mansion and flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates. In 2018, she not only voted but campaigned, helping Democrat Abigail Spanberger unseat Rep. Dave Brat (R). She’s at it again this year for state House and Senate hopefuls.

“The genie’s out of the bottle,” Spasojevich, 41, said at a campaign event in suburban Richmond that drew 200 activists despite the fact it was a torrid Sunday afternoon in August. “We will never skip an election or ignore candidates for the rest of our lives.”

Consider it one more norm smashed by an iconoclastic presidency: This “off-off” election year in Virginia is surprisingly on.

Virginia holds elections every year, and the “off-off” year — with just state legislative races and no presidential or statewide contest — is the most easily ignored by voters. The campaign cycle is much shorter than for federal or statewide contests, television ads are scarce, and turnout historically hovers around 30 percent.

Republicans tend to vote in those quieter elections, while Democrats “get a little sleepy” in nonpresidential years, as former president Barack Obama put it at a 2017 rally for now-Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

But after Trump’s election, Democratic turnout surged in the two statewide elections that followed. The biggest test could come in November, with all 140 state House and Senate seats on the ballot but no statewide contests to otherwise drive turnout.

“To have the turnout advantage favor the Democrats in off years was very significant and was really an example of what I call the negative Trump effect,” said Bob Holsworth, a longtime Richmond political analyst. “The question is, does that still linger in 2019? Can the Democrats gin that up again?”

The stakes could not be higher for the state — and beyond.

Sign Up to Volunteer at the Democratic Booth at the State Fair of Virginia

Each year Democrats from around the state support a booth at the State Fair of Virginia. This year several groups have come together to make sure that our great Democratic candidates have representation at the State Fair of Virginia. So far the Democratic Party of Virginia, LGBT Democrats of Virginia, Rural Caucus of the Democratic Party of Virginia, 1st District Congressional Committee, 7th District Congressional Committee, Chesterfield County Democratic Committee, Henrico County Democratic Committee, and the Spotsylvania County Democratic Committee, as well some private citizens have joined together to fund the cost of the fair booth, volunteer tickets, and other costs of the booth.

Sign up to volunteer at the booth by clicking here!

LGBT+ Democrats of Virginia Equality Breakfast: September 21

DPVA Quarter 3 Happy Hour

Chat with fellow Democrats, make new friends, and celebrate what we’ve accomplished and the work that lies ahead! Quarter 3 will be taking place in Fredericksburg this weekend! Join us Friday night for a happy hour at J Brian’s Taproom located at 200 Hanover Street in Fredericksburg. Tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/q3hh19. See you there!

Upcoming Events

To get your event added to the DPVA website and the newsletter, email digital@vademocrats.org with event details!

9/18 Norfolk Democratic Committee Monthly Business Meeting

9/19 Strategy Session for Missy Cotter Smasal, Karen Mallard, Kelly Fowler, and Len Myers

9/20 DPVA Q3 Happy Hour in Fredericksburg

9/21 LGBT Democrats of Virginia Equality Breakfast

9/21 Westmoreland Democratic Committee Meeting

9/21 Almost Annual Collis Warner Pig Roast

9/21 Montgomery County Fall Dinner

9/21 Take The Majority Grassroots Volunteers Meet and Greet Dinner

9/23 Westmoreland Indivisible Meeting

9/24 Westmoreland/King George Interracial Conversations Pot-Luck & Discussion

9/26 The 8th CD’s 26th Annual Kennedy-King Dinner

10/3 Richmond City Democratic Committee Meeting

10/5 Norfolk Democratic Committee Monthly Breakfast Meeting

10/5 Amelia County Democratic Committee Annual Fish Fry



Democratic Party of VA

Official Medium account of the Democratic Party of Virginia.